Bald Eagle #23-3518

Admitted
September 24, 2023
Released
December 27, 2023
Rescue Location
York County, Virginia
Cause of Admission/Condition
Suspected vehicle collision
Status
Former Patient
Patient photo

Last Updated Jump to patient updates

On September 23, an adult Bald Eagle was found injured on a roadway in York County, Virginia. The eagle was rescued by permitted wildlife rehabilitator Julie Wobig and taken to permitted wildlife rehabilitator Deb Woodward for overnight care before being transported to the Wildlife Center.

On admission, the eagle was alert and responsive. Veterinary intern Dr. Natalie examined the bird and found extensive bruising on the eagle’s left wing. Radiographs revealed that the bird’s left ulna was fractured. A blood test also revealed that the bird had subclinical lead toxicosis — a low level of lead in its system that could cause serious harm over time.

After the exam, Dr. Natalie bandaged the injured wing and started the eagle on chelation therapy to remove the lead, anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling, and pain medication. The eagle was placed in an indoor holding area for rest and observation.

By October 2, chelation therapy successfully removed the lead from the eagle’s system, but the eagle developed a hematoma [severe bruise] over the fracture site. Vet staff aspirated the site and discovered a mix of blood and infectious material; in addition to anti-inflammatories, the vet team started the eagle on a course of antibiotics to combat infection.

On October 4, the veterinary team discovered that the hematoma ruptured and became an abscess. Vet staff debrided the wound and placed specialized bandages over it to help it heal. They also started physical therapy during daily bandage changes to improve the range of motion in the eagle’s injured wing.

On October 8, vet staff discovered slight necrosis on the eagle’s wound. They debrided the dead tissue and placed an anti-bacterial agent over the wound.

For now, the eagle will remain inside the Center where it will continue to receive treatment and physical therapy. Its prognosis remains guarded.

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Patient Updates

On December 27, Bald Eagle #23-3518 was released back into the wild at the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown, Virginia. It was a rainy day, but luckily the weather had cleared in time for the release.

Wildlife Center President Ed Clark said that it was a "great spot for a release … the bird flew beautifully, leaving the cheering crowd with tears in their eyes. A late Christmas gift and a good omen for a Happy New Year."

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Above photo courtesy of Margaret Jones Harbeck

Bald Eagle #23-3158 in flight

Bald Eagle #23-3158 in flight, captured by the Jamestown Settlement & American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Bald Eagle #23-3742’s release in the news

During the past two and a half months, Bald Eagle #23-3581 has made excellent progress. Following several additional surgeries to debride and clean the wound on the eagle’s left wing, physical therapy, and laser therapy, the veterinary staff determined the wound had sufficiently healed. No longer requiring medications or daily hands-on treatments, he was ready to transition to an outdoor enclosure.

After moving into the A3 flight pen on November 6, the eagle was given eight days to acclimate to his new surroundings before beginning an exercise regimen. During his first session, the rehabilitation team reported that he was able to complete a full eight passes easily, with great height and form, before reaching exhaustion. By mid-December, the eagle’s form, stamina, and maneuverability had greatly improved and the rehabilitation staff were confident he was ready for life back in the wild.

Pre-release blood work performed on December 18 returned within normal limits, and the veterinary staff officially cleared him for release! Plans for an open-to-the-public release are currently underway. Please check the Center’s Event Calendar page for the latest updates